A Growing Up Journal – A Great Alternative to a Baby Book

When I had my first child, I was given a cute baby book with places to put every detail imaginable during the first 5 years of life. The first week home with my little man, I made sure to write down my birth story, his first month’s worth of measurements, and how we were doing as a new family of three. Then we moved into our house, he became more active so life got more interesting with outings, and milestones were happening at a rate that I could only catch on camera not with my pen.

Long story short, at about month 9 I finally opened up his baby book again. I estimated when teeth popped through, when he said his first word, and the first time he might have rolled over on his own. Honestly, I flipped through the pictures on my phone to find most of the dates because the evidence was right there for me. Then I felt completely ridiculous having to write it down when I had a picture which was better anyway. The teeth though, that’s still up in the air. That turned into a “he doesn’t have that tooth in this picture but he does in that picture so he must’ve gotten that around this date”. Problem-solving mom-style since 2017. 

Fast forward to child number two’s arrival, and I felt obligated to buy a baby book for him because child number one had one. I tried my best, but there’s about a 3-month give on each milestone because I think I’ve only actually written in his book 3 times since he was born (he’s 1 ½). 

Okay, okay. Now, I know half of you are high-fiving me for writing in the book even 3 times, and half of you are shaking your heads at my inability to live up to the highest standards of motherhood. Before the second half asks for my head, I want to fill you in on my compromise. It’s a wonderful option for those of us who want something less regimented than a baby book but still want a similar memento to give to our kids someday: A Growing Up Journal. It’s a diary, but you’re writing it to your child instead of about your own personal thoughts. Capture milestones, cute memories, and funny things in real time. Write everyday if you want, but the nice part is there is never any obligation. Write as much or as little as you want. Some days I write one sentence, such as “July 8: You learned to sing the ABC’s today, and I was so proud of you.”. Done – cute milestone documented in less than 5 seconds. 

I saw this idea from another blogger; she did one entry every year for Father’s Day instead of giving her husband cards. Each child would write or draw something for their dad. It sparked my idea to do a journal instead of a baby book for my kids. I started them when my oldest was 2 and my youngest was a few months old. I keep them by my nightstand, and I write in them when I think about it or when they do something new! I love that someday they can read them and know what was going on during random days in their lives instead of just knowing the date they crawled. It’s been really interesting to write to them about Covid-19 and how it has affected our lives this year. They will never remember this time, but I want them to know what it was like from my perspective, and I especially want R to know how different his first year of preschool was compared to a “normal” year.

Let me note that I am not anti-baby book at all. I’m just anti-baby book for myself because it doesn’t work well for me. It’s not the best way for me to document my kids’ lives, and I feel these journals reflect more of me as a person and mom. Hopefully someday they will read them and hear my voice in my writing as they follow along with their journey growing up with me as their crazy mom . 💕

Do you have any original way that you document your child’s life?


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